Despite 1.6 million new accounts and a growth rate of 119% in assets in 529 college savings plans in 2002, providers have been disappointed at the individual plan size, according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates of Boston.

Plans added more than $10 billion in new contributions in the year to close out 2002 with $20 billion in assets, the start of what Cerulli anticipates will be a period of rapid growth. The Boston-based research firm predicts savings plan assets will grow to $145 billion by 2008, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 40% between 2002 and 2008. There were 3.1 million 529 savings accounts at year's end, according to the study, "A Competitive Outlook for 529 Savings Plans."

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